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Cyprus

Cyprus

4. Social Inclusion

4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people

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  1. Programmes specific for vulnerable young people
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance

Programmes specific for vulnerable young people

  1. The National Programme for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) (Εθνικό Πρόγραμμα Ταμείου Ασύλου, Μετανάστευσης και Ένταξης). It was introduced in 2015 and has a time frame 2014-2020. The responsible authority for the implementation and coordination of this programme is the Ministry of Interior and the European Funds Unit. Basically, the programme provides funds through an open call and thus State authorities, local public bodies, non-governmental organisations, international public organisations or private and public law companies can implement projects relevant with the aim of the programme. The projects of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund mainly aim to support the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), strengthen the accommodation capacity of asylum seekers, provide of all necessary services related to asylum procedures, facilitate the integration of third country nationals in the local community with the help of local authorities/NGO’s/ public bodies/other social partners, increase assisted voluntary returns, increase cooperation with other member states as well as support the administrative capacity of Cyprus to manage successfully all sectors related to migration.

On one hand, the programme targets third country nationals in the local community (asylum seekers and immigrants) with an aim to achieve their integration in the society. On the other hand, the programme targets local community, with an aim to raise awareness and facilitate the acceptance of the third country nationals. There are not data on youth participation in these programmes.

  1. The National Drugs Policy and Alcohol Policy 2013-2020 [Εθνική Στρατηγική για την αντιμετώπιση της εξάρτησης από παράνομες ουσίες και την επιβλαβή χρήση του αλκοόλ 2013-2020] runs under the Cyprus National Addictions Authority (Αρχή Αντιμετώπισης Εξαρτήσεων Κύπρου). The Authority is the coordinating body in the field of legal and illegal dependency substances and has been the evolution of the Anti-Drug Council since November 2017. The National Policy is consisted of two Action Plans, the Action Plan 2013-2016 and the Action Plan 2017-2020. In November 2020 the new National Drugs Policy and Alcohol Policy 2021-2028 was presented to the public; also, an Action Plan for the period of 2021-2024 was designed. The main aim of the new Policy is to safeguard young people’s right to have access in prevention, therapy and social support services.

There are more than 30 public and other actors involved in the proposed programmes of the Cyprus National Addictions Authority, such as ministries, the Cyprus Police, the Youth Board of Cyprus, associations, trade unions, NGOs. Their role is to implement collectively the strategy. The level and trends of participation in these programmes are not yet recorded by the official statistics, although the Report of the first Action Plan 2013-2016 has been released and the Report of the second Action Plan 2017-2020 was released in November 2020.

Also, the Cyprus National Addiction Authority has published a Guide on Social Reintegration Services (Οδηγός Υπηρεσιών Κοινωνικής Επανένταξης – available only in Greek).

  1. The Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (Τμήμα Κοινωνικής Ενσωμάτωσης Ατόμων με Αναπηρίες) was established in 2009 and offers a variety of services and social benefits to people with disabilities. The department is under the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. Each service offered to people with disabilities has different criteria, starting dates, target groups and services provided. The services offered are: 1. Severe Motor Disability Allowance Scheme, 2. Care Allowance Scheme for Quadriplegic Persons, 3. Care Allowance Scheme for Paraplegic Persons, 4. Special Allowance for Blind Persons, 5. Mobility Allowance, 6. Allowance to persons with disability for the provision of a car, 7. Scheme for the Provision of Financial Assistance for the Purchase of a Wheelchair, 8. Scheme for Wheelchair Loans to persons with motor Disability, 9. Disability Parking Card Scheme (Blue Badge), 10. Financial assistance scheme for the provision of technical means, instruments and other aids, 11. Scheme for the management/provision of technical means, instruments and other aids, 12. Financial Assistance for Organisations of Persons with Disabilities, 13. Financial Assistance to the Organisations of Persons with Disabilities for hiring Social Assistants for their members, 14. Assistance through the Welfare Lottery Fund.

There are not other actors involved and the level and trends of participation of young people in these programmes are not available, although an annual report is drafted.

  1. The “Actions for social and school inclusion (DR.A.S.E.)” («Δράσεις Σχολικής και Κοινωνικής Ένταξης (ΔΡΑ.Σ.Ε.)») 2015-2023 run by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth. Key actors involved are the schools, which implement the programme. The programme refers to the implementation of actions aiming to support and strengthen public school pupils and at the same time to promote school and social inclusion. The project aims to support, expand and improve the outcomes of the project against “Early School Leaving, School Failure and Delinquency in Zones of Educational Priority". The main variation of the project "Activities of School and Social Inclusion" in relation to its predecessor is that the new project is not zone based, i.e. school units will not be grouped into geographical clusters. Rather, individual school units and / or clusters of schools (kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, and technical schools) are selected, regardless of the geographical area in which they are located. The project’s main objectives are the following:
  • Support the Cypriot population living below the poverty line or being at risk of poverty and social exclusion;
  • Ensure the welfare and support of the financially weaker groups of the population particularly affected by the economic crisis;
  • Reduction of early school leaving;
  • Improvement of learning outcomes;
  • Reducing school failure and delinquency;
  • Strengthening social cohesion by reducing the risk of social marginalization and exclusion.

DRASE program develops innovative preventive actions, such as the creation of a space for the development of creative and entertaining activities, the creation of student clubs (dance, theater, journalism, music, painting, amateur radio, football, etc.) and the development of a program which includes educational, cultural and other activities on health education.

According to the Minister’s announcement on 24/5/2019, the programme expands to cover 102 schools during the school years 2019-2023, targeting thus the 15,6% of the schools population. The trends of participation of young people in this programme are not available.

  1. The Scheme for the Vocational Training of Persons with Disabilities (Σχέδιο Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης Ατόμων με Αναπηρίες) is offered by the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance which is the responsible authority for its implementation. The main purpose of the project is to broaden the opportunities for training and education of people with disabilities based on individual programs in training institutions or private or public-sector enterprises. Beneficiaries are persons with disabilities who may experience employment difficulties in their field, despite their level of education. The Scheme is addressed to people with disabilities of all ages. No specific targets for the level of youth participation have been established. In addition, the level and trends of participation in this scheme are not yet recorded by official statistics.
  2. Provision of Incentives for Hiring Recipients of Guaranteed Minimum Income Combined with a three-month Training Period” Scheme. (Σχέδιο Παροχής Κινήτρων για την Πρόσληψη Δικαιούχων Ελαχίστου Εγγυημένου Εισοδήματος (ΕΕΕ) σε συνδυασμό με τρίμηνη Κατάρτιση). The scheme is provided by the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus and offers practical training and work experience opportunities to Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) recipients in order to improve their employability and prepare their employment in a specific enterprise/organisation of the private sector. The target group for this programme is GMI recipients of all age groups. The running period is from 6/7/2017 to 31/12/2020; however, due to the current conditions caused by the pandemic, the duration of the programme has been extended until 30/6/21. No specific targets for the level of youth participation have been established. In addition, the level and trends of participation in this scheme are not yet recorded by official statistics.
  3. The National Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography (Η Εθνική Στρατηγική και το Σχέδιο ∆ράσης για την Καταπολέµηση της Σεξουαλικής Κακοποίησης και Εκµετάλλευσης Παιδιών και της Παιδικής Πορνογραφίας) was based on the  “Implementation of the National Strategy to Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Law (N. 112(I)/2017) (Ο περί της Εφαρμογής της Εθνικής Στρατηγικής για την Καταπολέμηση της Σεξουαλικής Κακοποίησης και Εκμετάλλευσης Παιδιών και της Παιδικής Πορνογραφίας Νόμος του 2017 (Ν. 112(Ι)/2017); currently, there is in effect the second Action Plan for the years 2020-2022. Τhe responsible authority for the implementation and coordination of the Strategy is the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. At the same time, the following actors are involved:
  • The Ministry of Health
  • The Ministry of Justice and Public Order
  • The Ministry of Education and Culture
  • The Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance
  • The Law Office
  • The Police
  • The Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence
  • Actors from the private sector who are selected either in their personal capacity because of their involvement and training in child protection issues or from members of Organisations or Associations or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the protection of children's rights and / or education and training on children's rights.  

The main fields of activity of the Strategy include:

  • Primary Prevention (Reducing abuse and exploitation incidents through prevention, strengthening, informing and educating children, including internet security),
  • Secondary Prevention (Responding swiftly and timely to the initial problems before they get worse),
  • Tertiary Prevention (Tackling incidents after they have occurred),
  • Research (Implementing a system to record incidents, Scientific Research),
  • Evaluation (Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness and the attainment of the objectives of specific actions).

The level and trends of participation are not yet recorded. It’s not clear if any targets for the level of participation are established.

Lastly, it has to be underlined that a Board being responsible for monitoring the implementation of the above law was established; this Board is called/named “Foni” (Φωνή).

Funding

  1. For the National Programme for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) there is a specific budget allocated at top level. The amount of funding dedicated to the programme for the period 2014-2020 is 34,918,677.00 euros. It is not clear what is the funding dedicated for the programme in the current year or in the previous one. The programme is financed 90% by the European Social Fund. The remaining 10% is financed by the Republic of Cyprus.
  2. The budget of the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy 2013-2020 is not available, therefore it cannot be said if there is a specific budget allocated at top level or if/how the EU funds are used.
  3. The budget for the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is not available, therefore it cannot be said if there is a specific budget allocated at top level or if/how the EU funds are used. The actions of this department are in line with Strategy for Social Policy 2014-2020.
  4. The total budget for the DRASE programme until 2023 reaches €29.000.000 Euro and it is co-financed by the European Social Fund (85%) and the Republic of Cyprus (15%). 
  5. The exact total amount of funding and source of funding for the Scheme for the Vocational Training of Persons with Disabilities are not stated in the official documents.
  6. The estimated budget allocated by the HRDA for the “Provision of Incentives for Hiring Recipients of Guaranteed Minimum Income Combined with a three-month Training Period” Scheme is €1.200.000. It is not available if and how the EU funds are used. 

Quality assurance

  1. For the National Programme for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), a Monitoring Committee is set and is responsible for the monitoring of the implementation of the National Programme. The Committee meets at regular intervals –at least once a year –in order to examine the progress of the programme. Extraordinary meetings may be held, if needed. Its purpose is to monitor the progress of the Programme regarding the specific objectives, indicators, financial implementation, deadlines, needs for possible amendments, possible unforeseen circumstances and any other issues that may influence the successful implementation. The main criteria/indicators/standards used to assess the quality of these programmes are not mentioned. There main outcomes of quality assurance process are not published.
  2. Regarding the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy 2013-2020, many indicators are set in order to check the implementation of the strategy, as well as several deliverables for each action. The Cyprus National Addictions Authority monitors the assessment of the strategy. The Report of the first Action Plan 2013-2016 has been released and the Report of the second Action Plan 2017-2020 was released in November 2020.
  3. The Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities does not mention any quality assurance criteria set for the variety of services and social benefits provided to people with disabilities. However, the department releases an annual report
  4. No specific quality assurance criteria are mentioned for the “Actions for social and school inclusion (DR.A.S.E.)”.
  5. There is not information available if there is a mechanism which monitors the implementation of the Scheme for the Vocational Training of Persons with Disabilities. 
  6. The HRDA has in place a comprehensive system, which was designed by independent external consultants for the “Provision of Incentives for Hiring Recipients of Guaranteed Minimum Income Combined with a three-month Training Period” Scheme. Every year the HRDA conducts evaluation studies regarding the impact of its Schemes on the participants. No quality assurance criteria or any results about the quality assurance process are published for the specific scheme until now. 
  7. A monitoring committee was established in order to monitor and control the implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography.